The First Audacious Move
Audacious: intrepidly daring, adventurous, bold, marked by originality and verve.
Right out of the gate, Beth challenges our perception of Jesus’ love for us, “Do you believe with unrelenting conviction and confidence that Jesus audaciously loves you? Are you convinced that a fiery passion rages within Him toward you?”
Oof… That’s how I felt about that. I have struggled in my faith many times in my life. Being raised in church, I had to come to a place in my life where my faith in Jesus was my own and not my heritage. I’ve asked myself some tough questions. Do I really believe that there is a God? Do I really believe all of these Bible stories? Could any of this really have happened? Did Jesus really love me, even though I didn’t exist, enough to die for me?
Yes, it’a all true. And yes, Jesus does love me, and YOU. It wasn’t just a song that I grew up singing. I had a real encounter with the presence of God during a night of worship where the reality of the sacrifice that Jesus made hit me full force. This was way after deciding all of the above was true. God knew that I needed to feel the weight of His sacrifice. He knew I needed to feel the overwhelming love of Jesus in that moment on the cross. He knew that I needed to feel the realness of Him, and boy did I. It is an image and feeling and realness that I cling to. Yes, His love is AUDACIOUS!
“We cannot out-love Jesus because love is not just something He does. It’s something He is. He is incapable of loving less because He is incapable of being less… Every time you are driven to pursue Him, it’s because He’s pursuing you.”
Sometimes I’ve felt that I’m chasing after God to no avail. Unanswered prayers, unanswered questions, not feeling connected to Him and so desperately wanting to be. Have you ever felt this way? I know it can’t just be me. Then I have to remember, just as Beth said, He is not capable of loving us less. My goodness, do you remember all that the Israelites put God through? Do you remember how even when He turned His eyes and ears from them, He ALWAYS came back and rescued them. Maybe not in their timing, but He could never forsake them because of His great love for His people. Through His Son, Jesus, we, the Gentiles, are now His people as well. You are His. I am His. He loves us with this same devotion that He did His own people.
“For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people.” Titus 2:11
If you will, I encourage you to read pages 45-52 over and over until the vastness of the plan of God seeps into every pore and every fiber of your being. There was nothing done that God did not already foresee. Wow! Just, go back and read it. Please!
“He knew your name before creation. He knew all your would entail. He knew both strands of your DNA by heart. He appointed the color of your eyes and the prints of your fingers. He chose the generation in which you would live and planted you in an exact spot on the planet to initiate divine purpose. He enacted a plan of epic proportions that would include you. His son took on flesh for all humankind, yes. But that includes you. He gave His life for you. He rose from the dead for you. He sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for you. He gave His life for you. He rose from the dead for you. He sent His promised Holy Spirit to seal, sanctify, thrill, and fill you.”
There is so much that I want to say, to express, to expound upon, but I wouldn’t know where to begin. I have highlighted almost this whole chapter and eventually gave up highlighting for fear the pages would get ruined. The love of God is so grand, and His plan so unfathomably perfect, that you almost feel the puzzle pieces clicking in place as you read the journey summarized from start to finish.
To really grasp the wholeness of His love, I have to think about my own humanity. What would I do if I knew what would happen to me for the sake of people that had denied me and for people who had yet to be born? Could I have done what Jesus did? Could I have endured that kind of torture and death? No, I know I couldn’t. Thank God for a Savior who did and thank God for loving us so much that He knew the sacrifice He would have to make before He laid the foundations of the world, and did it anyway. What love! What audacious, all consuming, inspiring, jaw-dropping love.